England opener Alastair Cook missed a century by six runs and Jonathan Trott made a half-century before Pakistan hit back with four wickets in the last session in the second Test here on Thursday.
Cook was trapped leg-before-wicket off spinner Saeed Ajmal for 94 — his fourth nervous ninety dismissal — and added an invaluable 139 for the second wicket with Trott (74) to take England to 207 for five in reply to Pakistan's 275.
Ajmal took three of those last four wickets, dismissing Kevin Pietersen (14) and Eoin Morgan (three) in the last over for the addition of four runs to bring Pakistan back into the game after Cook and Trott had foiled its bowling.
At the close on the second day, Ian Bell was unbeaten on four with England needing another 50 runs to overhaul Pakistan's first innings total on an Abu Dhabi pitch that is helping bowlers.
England, aiming to level the three-Test series after its 10-wicket defeat in the first match in Dubai and maintain its world number one ranking, will look to out-of-form Bell and the rest to give it a lead on Friday. Pakistan, meanwhile, will hope that Ajmal, who has figures of three for 67, can bowl England out early.
Cook and Trott had negotiated dangerman Ajmal well, before both fell to spinners. Trott missed a turning delivery from Abdul Rehman that spun across his bat and hit the off-stump. He hit seven boundaries off 158 balls.
Cook looked certain to reach his 20th century as he hit Ajmal for his 10th boundary to move to within a stroke of the milestone but two balls later he missed a ball that kept straight and hit him in front of the stumps.
Trott had survived three confident leg-before appeals, two of which were unsuccessfully challenged by Pakistan.
Both completed their half-centuries before tea and looked set to bring England level with Pakistan's total before the Pakistani spinners led by Ajmal hit back.
When England began its innings, Cook and Strauss were opening together for the 100th time, but the captain's early fall for 11 meant they were unable to mark the milestone with a big stand. In the morning, Stuart Broad completed bowling figures of four for 47 to bowl out Pakistan, which added just one run to its overnight score of 256 for seven. Swann finished with three for 52. — AFP
Pakistan - 1st innings: 257.
England - 1st innings: A. Strauss c Shafiq b Hafeez 11, A. Cook lbw b Ajmal 94, J. Trott b Rehman 74, K. Pietersen c Hafeez b Ajmal 14, I. Bell (batting) 4, E. Morgan c Hafeez b Ajmal 3; Extras (b-4, lb-2, nb-1): 7; Total (for five wicket in 84.5 overs): 207.
Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-166, 3-198, 4-203, 5-207.
Pakistan bowling: Gul 10-1-35-0, Junaid Khan 6-0-20-0, Hafeez 19-4-40-1, Ajmal 29.5-5-67-3, Rehman 20-7-39-1.